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1.  Therapy of unspecific tinnitus without organic cause 
There is a variety of medical and non-medical therapies in practice, which were not evaluated regarding its effectiveness by any systematic evidence oriented investigation.
A number of therapies of medical and non-medical type try to treat the different types of tinnitus. The evidence in the scientific literature also had to be cleared in the field of diagnosis and classification as well as medical/psychiatric/psychological procedures of existing medical therapy.
The HTA report had to investigate the following questions:
Which evidence do diagnostic methods in recognition of tinnitus have? Which types of therapy show medical effectiveness at the acute or chronic tinnitus without an organic cause? Which consequences (need for further research, future procedures) can be drawn?
In the following databases "tinnitus" was searched according to the search string:
HTA97; INAHTA; CDAR94; CDSR93; CCTR93; ME66; ME0A; HT83; SM78; CA66; CB85; BA70; BA93; EM74; IS74; ET80; EB94; IA70; AZ72; CV72; GE79; EU93; HN69; ED93; EA08
Result: 1932 studies, unsorted after assessment in accordance with EBM criterions, selection: 409 studies.
Due to the completely heterogeneous representation modes of the therapeutic approaches at the treatment of the chronic tinnitus no quantitative synthesis method could be performed. Therefore the methodology of a qualitative overview has been carried out.
The diagnostic confirmation of the non-specific tinnitus without organic cause meets with the problem of the assurance of the diagnosis tinnitus. According to the current opinion the stepwise diagnostics is carried out also in the case of the so called subjective tinnitus. Nothing can be said about the evidence of these procedures since no publication was found about that. A study concerning the evidence of the diagnostic questionnaires from Goebel and Hiller [1] comes to the end that the tinnitus questionnaire frequently used (TF) [2] is the best evaluated procedure.
The number of therapies which treat tinnitus is exceptionally high and makes clear, that the search for "the" tinnitus therapy is still going on. According to the current knowledge tinnitus genesis is multifactorial and therefore there can’t be any standard therapy for tinnitus. The following seven categories can be distinguished:
Ad 1: Machine-aided acoustic therapies
From many studies regarding machine-aided acoustic therapy of tinnitus only two showed an evidence degree that allows scientifically correct statements about the effectiveness of these procedures. Selectively significant improvements could be shown in the comparison with a placebo (apparatus switched off) a superiority of tinnitus-maskers.
Ad 2: Electrostimulation
In an application study of electro-stimulation the results were not evaluated statistically, but it was described descriptively that a successful medical treatment can be expected in about 50% of the cases.
Ad 3: Psychological therapy procedures
Hypnosis did not show positive effectiveness. With regard to biofeedback it can be concluded that this method can be effective in individual cases, however regarded as unreliable from missing reproducibility. Neurobiofeedback could prove that it had a positive therapeutic effect.
From eight controlled studies to relaxation techniques and cognitive behaviour therapy four studies showed a therapeutic effectiveness and four failed. Combined therapies proved generally to be more effective than individual types.
The behaviour medical psychotherapy could show a positive therapy effect. In a study with cognitive therapy and relaxation (three groups, a passive relaxation, an active relaxation and a cognitive therapy) short-term successes could be stated (for one month), however, the parameters of success returned on the initial value after four months.
Also only coincidental and short-term successes could be achieved with cognitive behaviour therapy training, autogenic training and structured group psychotherapy.
Ad 4: Tinnitus Retraining Therapy (TRT)
Unfortunately, the published results of the TRT are methodically frequently bad and scientific of a poor value. Many of the studies presented until now regarding tinnitus retraining therapy are not informative in their scientific context.
In a study with 95 patients with a chronic tinnitus TRT could show a significant, more than six months lasting stable success by comparison to a combination of TET with group behaviour therapy (improvement be achieved around at least ten points in the tinnitus questionnaire (TF)).
Ad 5: Pharmacological therapies
Rheological drugs (medicines for hemodilution) could not show any statistically significant effect in the treatment of tinnitus.
Studies to the medical treatment with tocainides (lidocaine) showed repeatable positive effects on tinnitus in higher dosages (as of 1.2 mg/day). Lamotrigine as a medicine had an effect positively only at with a small fraction of patients. Two studies with GABA receptor agonists could not prove therapeutic effects for tinnitus. Undesired side-effects were observed. Injections with Carvoverine (a glutamate antagonist) achieved significantly successes with a special form of tinnitus, the “Cochlear-synaptic tinnitus (CST)".
A tricyclic antidepressant (Amitriptilin) could prove superiority against placebo. This effect could be confirmed in another study. However Clonazepame (a benzodiazepine), could not achieve any improvement. Short-term improvements were achieved with other benzodiazepines (Clonazepame, Diazepam, Flurazepame, Oxacepame and Alprazolame).
A German retrospective study suggests a graded pharmacological therapy by means of rheological infusion therapy, applications of neurotransmitters, and injections of lidocaine. This method achieved a disappearance or a recovery of the complaints at 95.3% of the acute and 26.7% of the chronic cases.
Ad 6: Surgical procedures
The effects of the operative excision of the stapes (stapedectomy) showed significant effects concerning tinnitus. This method is a routine operation to recover hearing, effects on tinnitus were observed only coincidently.
There are generally high frequencies of improvements of tinnitus after cochlea implantations; however the risk of deterioration is present with this method.
Ad 7: Other and alternative therapy procedures
The hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be considered successful after acute events with tinnitus. The therapy should be started in the first month after appearance of the tinnitus.
The methods transcranial-, electromagnetic and transcutaneous nerve stimulations did not show any significant effects on tinnitus. Also low laser medical treatment showed disappointing effects.
The “pneumatic external contra-pulsation” is described as an unproblematic usable procedure by the authors of the examination, but 10% of the patients had to stop the medical treatment because of complications associated with the medical treatment.
Acupuncture showed significant improvements in comparison to medical treatment. The effectiveness of this therapy could not be reproduced in another study. Five other studies between 1993 and 1999 also did not show any therapeutic effect of this method. Gingko-Biloba preparations did not show any positive effects in large-scale studies on tinnitus.
Neither the diagnostic procedures nor the therapeutic methods or the individual therapies reach a usual scientific level in medicine. Unsolved problems concerning insurance, economic as well as legal problems have resulted for the patients and for caring stuff from this unsatisfactory situation.
Numerous competitive tinnitus emergence models led to an incredible creativity in trying out different therapy approaches. No convergence of the therapy procedures can be seen within the last decades of tinnitus research, contrariwise there is always more and more “creativity” of new approaches.
Priority has to be given to find the cause of tinnitus since therapies are a consequence of a better understanding of these symptoms that evidence oriented investigations on an usual scientific level can be started.
The innumerable therapeutic approaches, seeming completely incoherent to their effects should be coordinated on the meaningfulness, on the success parameters and with patient safety in light of the most plausible explanation models for non-specific chronic Tinnitus. To this the facilities of competence centres or related science- directing facilities are recommendable.
Examinations which are carried out also with small numbers show often methodical insufficiencies. It is necessary that minimal requirements on a scientifically clinical experiment, such as design, case number calculation, analytic statistics, control group, are fulfilled.
It is recommendable, that further research has to be promoted regarding tinnitus causes that a coordinated evidence-orientated treatment will be developed.
PMCID: PMC3011356  PMID: 21289968
2.  Effectiveness and Cost Effectiveness of Expanding Harm Reduction and Antiretroviral Therapy in a Mixed HIV Epidemic: A Modeling Analysis for Ukraine 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000423.
A cost-effectiveness study by Sabina Alistar and colleagues evaluates the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different levels of investment in methadone, ART, or both, in the mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine.
Injection drug use (IDU) and heterosexual virus transmission both contribute to the growing mixed HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In Ukraine—chosen in this study as a representative country—IDU-related risk behaviors cause half of new infections, but few injection drug users (IDUs) receive methadone substitution therapy. Only 10% of eligible individuals receive antiretroviral therapy (ART). The appropriate resource allocation between these programs has not been studied. We estimated the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of strategies for expanding methadone substitution therapy programs and ART in mixed HIV epidemics, using Ukraine as a case study.
Methods and Findings
We developed a dynamic compartmental model of the HIV epidemic in a population of non-IDUs, IDUs using opiates, and IDUs on methadone substitution therapy, stratified by HIV status, and populated it with data from the Ukraine. We considered interventions expanding methadone substitution therapy, increasing access to ART, or both. We measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost-effectiveness. Without incremental interventions, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% (IDUs) and 0.88% (non-IDUs) after 20 years. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of IDUs reduced prevalence most effectively (to 53.1% IDUs, 0.80% non-IDUs), and was most cost-effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 76,000 QALYs compared with no intervention at US$530/QALY gained. Expanding both ART (80% coverage of those eligible for ART according to WHO criteria) and methadone substitution therapy (25% coverage) was the next most cost-effective strategy, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy and averting 8,300 infections versus no intervention. Expanding only ART (80% coverage) added 38,000 QALYs at US$2,240/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy, and averted 4,080 infections versus no intervention. Offering ART to 80% of non-IDUs eligible for treatment by WHO criteria, but only 10% of IDUs, averted only 1,800 infections versus no intervention and was not cost effective.
Methadone substitution therapy is a highly cost-effective option for the growing mixed HIV epidemic in Ukraine. A strategy that expands both methadone substitution therapy and ART to high levels is the most effective intervention, and is very cost effective by WHO criteria. When expanding ART, access to methadone substitution therapy provides additional benefit in infections averted. Our findings are potentially relevant to other settings with mixed HIV epidemics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are mainly driven by increasing use of injection drugs combined with heterosexual transmission. In the Ukraine, in 2007, there were 82,000 officially registered people living with HIV—three times the number registered in 1999—and an estimated 395,000 HIV infected adults. The epidemic in Ukraine, like other countries in the region, is concentrated in at-risk populations, particularly people who inject drugs: in 2007, an estimated 390,000 Ukrainians were injecting drugs, an increase in drug use over the previous decade, not only in Ukraine, but in other former USSR states, owing to the easy availability of precursors for injection drugs in a climate of economic collapse.
The common practices of people who inject drugs in Ukraine and in other countries in the region, such as social injecting, syringe sharing, and using common containers, increase the risk of transmitting HIV. Public health interventions such as needle exchange can limit these risk factors and have been gradually implemented in these countries. In 2007, Ukraine approved the use of methadone substitution therapy and the current target is for 11,000 people who inject drugs to be enrolled in substitution therapy by 2011. Furthermore, since treatment for HIV-infected individuals is also necessary, national HIV control plans included a target of 90% antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage by 2010 but in 2007 less than 10% of the 91,000 eligible people received treatment. Although the number of people who inject drugs and who receive ART is unknown, physicians are often reluctant to treat people who inject drugs using ART owing to alleged poor compliance.
Why Was This Study Done?
As resources for HIV interventions in the region are limited, it is important to investigate the appropriate balance between investments in methadone substitution therapy and ART in order to maximize benefits to public health. Several studies have analyzed the cost effectiveness of methadone substitution therapy in similar settings but have not considered tradeoffs between ART and methadone substitution therapy. Therefore, to provide insights into the appropriate public health investment in methadone substitution therapy and ART in Ukraine, the researchers evaluated the public health effectiveness and cost effectiveness of different strategies for scaling up methadone substitution therapy and/or expanding ART.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed a model to accommodate different population groups: people who inject drugs on substitution therapy with methadone; people who inject opiates and do not take any substitution therapy; and people who do not inject any drugs, hence do not need substitution therapy. The researchers inputted Ukraine country-level data into this model and used current HIV trends in Ukraine to make rational assumptions on possible future trends and scenarios. They considered scenarios expanding methadone substitution therapy availability, increasing acces to ART, or both. Then, the researchers measured health care costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), HIV prevalence, infections averted, and incremental cost effectiveness for the different scenarios. They found that after 20 years, HIV prevalence reached 67.2% in people who inject drugs and 0.88% in people who do not inject drugs without further interventions. Offering methadone substitution therapy to 25% of people who inject drugs was the most effective strategy in reducing prevalence of HIV and was also the most cost effective, averting 4,700 infections and adding 75,700 QALYs versus the status quo at $530/QALY gained. Expanding both methadone substitution therapy and ART was also a highly cost effective option, adding 105,000 QALYs at US$1,120/QALY gained versus the methadone substitution therapy-only strategy. Offering ART to 80% of eligible people who did not inject drugs, and 10% of people who injected drugs averted only 1,800 infections, and added 76,400 QALYs at $1,330/QALY gained.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The results show that methadone substitution-focused therapeutic scenarios are the most cost effective, and that benefits increase with the scale of the project, even among people who do not inject drugs. This makes a methadone substitution strategy a highly cost-effective option for addressing the growing HIV epidemic in Ukraine. Therefore, if it is not feasible to invest in large-scale methadone substitution programs for any reason, political circumstances for example, providing as much methadone substitution as is acceptable is still desirable. While substitution therapy appears to avert the most HIV infections, expanded ART provides the largest total increase in QALYs. Thus, methadone substitution therapy and ART offer complementary benefits. Because the HIV epidemic in Ukraine is representative of the HIV epidemic in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the cost-effective strategies that the researchers have identified may help inform all decision makers faced with a mixed HIV epidemic.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Alliance provides information on its work supporting community action on AIDS in Ukraine
USAID provides an HIV/AIDS Health Profile for Ukraine
UNICEF provides information about its activities to help Ukraine fight rising HIV/AIDS infection rates
International Harm Reduction Association provides information about the status of harm reduction interventions such as methadone substitution therapy around the world
PMCID: PMC3046988  PMID: 21390264
3.  Standard triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori infection in China: A meta-analysis 
World Journal of Gastroenterology : WJG  2014;20(40):14973-14985.
AIM: To assess the efficacy and safety of standard triple therapy compared with other pre-existing and new therapies in China.
METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the VIP database, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure database, and the Chinese Biomedical Database. A meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing standard triple therapy for the eradication of Helicobacter pylori with pre-existing and new therapies in China was performed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis 2.0. There were 49 studies that met our criteria and the qualities of these studies were assessed using the Jadad scale. The Mantel-Haenszel method was used for pooling dichotomous data. We also conducted subgroup analyses according to age, duration of treatment and drug type. Sensitivity analyses and a cumulative meta-analysis were also performed with CMA 2.0. Publication bias was evaluated using Egger’s test, Begg’s test or a funnel plot.
RESULTS: A total of 49 RCTs including 8332 patients were assessed. This meta-analysis showed that standard triple therapy with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), amoxicillin (AMO) and clarithromycin (CLA) was inferior to sequential therapy [relative risk (RR) = 0.863; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.824-0.904], but was not superior to quadruple therapy (RR = 1.073; 95%CI: 0.849-1.357) or other triple therapies (RR = 1.01; 95%CI: 0.936-1.089). The meta-analysis also suggested that standard triple therapy is slightly more effective than dual therapy (RR = 1.14; 95%CI: 0.99-1.31). However, the differences were not statistically significant. We removed the only trial with a regimen lasting 14 d by sensitivity analysis and found that 7-d standard triple therapy was superior to 7-d dual therapy (RR = 1.222; 95%CI: 1.021-1.461). Moreover, a sub-analysis based on the duration of quadruple therapy indicated that the 7-d and 10-d standard triple therapies were inferior to sequential therapy (RR = 0.790; 95%CI: 0.718-0.868; RR = 0.917; 95%CI: 0.839-1.002, respectively). Additionally, there were no significant differences in cure rate or adverse events among standard triple therapy, quadruple therapy, and other triple therapies (RR = 0.940; 95%CI: 0.825-1.072; RR = 1.081; 95%CI: 0.848-1.378, respectively). Standard triple therapy had a higher occurrence of side effects than sequential therapy (RR = 1.283; 95%CI: 1.066-1.544).
CONCLUSION: The eradication rates with a standard triple therapy consisting of PPI, AMO, and CLA are suboptimal in China, and new treatment agents need to be developed.
PMCID: PMC4209562  PMID: 25356059
Helicobacter pylori; Eradication; Combination drug therapy; Amoxicillin; Clarithromycin; Adverse effects; Meta-analysis
4.  Global eradication rates for Helicobacter pylori infection: systematic review and meta-analysis of sequential therapy 
Objective To do a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing sequential therapy for eradication of Helicobacter pylori with pre-existing and new therapies, thus providing a glimpse of eradication success worldwide.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials up to May 2013; abstract books of major European, American, and Asian gastroenterological meetings.
Study selection Randomised controlled trials in previously untreated adults, in which sequential therapy was compared with a pre-existing or new therapy.
Results 46 randomised controlled trials were reviewed and analysed. 5666 patients were randomised to sequential therapy and 7866 to other (established and new) treatments. The overall eradication rate of sequential therapy was 84.3% (95% confidence interval 82.1% to 86.4%). Sequential therapy was superior to seven day triple therapy (relative risk 1.21, 95% confidence interval 1.17 to 1.25; I2=29.3%; number needed to treat 6 , 95% confidence interval 5% to 7%), marginally superior to 10 day triple therapy (1.11, 1.04 to 1.19; I2= 67.2%; NNT 10, 7 to 15), but not superior to 14 day triple therapy (1.00, 0.94 to 1.06; I2=54.3%), bismuth based therapy (1.01, 0.95 to 1.06; I2=21.1%), and non-bismuth based therapy (0.99, 0.94 to 1.05; I2=52.3%). Data on eradication according to pre-treatment antimicrobial susceptibility testing were available in eight studies, and sequential therapy was able to eradicate 72.8% (61.6% to 82.8%) of the strains resistant to clarithromycin.
Conclusions Eradication rates with pre-existing and new therapies for H pylori are suboptimal. Regional monitoring of resistance rates should help to guide treatment, and new agents for treatment need to be developed.
PMCID: PMC3736972  PMID: 23926315
5.  Measuring Psychological Change during Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in Primary Care: A Polish Study Using ‘PSYCHLOPS’ (Psychological Outcome Profiles) 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e27378.
Psychological outcome measures are evolving into measures that depict progress over time. Interval measurement during therapy has not previously been reported for a patient-generated measure in primary care. We aimed to determine the sensitivity to change throughout therapy, using ‘PSYCHLOPS’ (Psychological Outcome Profiles), and to determine if new problems appearing during therapy diminish overall improvement.
Responses to PSYCHLOPS, pre-, during- and post-therapy were compared. Setting: patients offered brief cognitive behaviour therapy in primary care in Poland.
238 patients completed the pre-therapy questionnaire, 194 (81.5%) the during-therapy questionnaire and 142 the post-therapy questionnaire (59.7%). For those completing all three questionnaires (n = 135), improvement in total scores produced an overall Effect Size of 3.1 (2.7 to 3.4). We estimated change using three methods for dealing with missing values. Single and multiple imputation did not significantly change the Effect Size; ‘Last Value Carried Forward’, the most conservative method, produced an overall Effect Size of 2.3 (1.9 to 2.6). New problems during therapy were reported by 81 patients (60.0%): new problem and original problem scores were of similar magnitude and change scores were not significantly different when compared to patients who did not report new problems.
A large proportion of outcome data is lost when outcome measures depend upon completed end of therapy questionnaires. The use of a during-therapy measure increases data capture. Missing data still produce difficulties in interpreting overall effect sizes for change. We found no evidence that new problems appearing during therapy hampered overall recovery.
PMCID: PMC3240620  PMID: 22194783
6.  A Novel Substrate-Based HIV-1 Protease Inhibitor Drug Resistance Mechanism 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e36.
HIV protease inhibitor (PI) therapy results in the rapid selection of drug resistant viral variants harbouring one or two substitutions in the viral protease. To combat PI resistance development, two approaches have been developed. The first is to increase the level of PI in the plasma of the patient, and the second is to develop novel PI with high potency against the known PI-resistant HIV protease variants. Both approaches share the requirement for a considerable increase in the number of protease mutations to lead to clinical resistance, thereby increasing the genetic barrier. We investigated whether HIV could yet again find a way to become less susceptible to these novel inhibitors.
Methods and Findings
We have performed in vitro selection experiments using a novel PI with an increased genetic barrier (RO033-4649) and demonstrated selection of three viruses 4- to 8-fold resistant to all PI compared to wild type. These PI-resistant viruses did not have a single substitution in the viral protease. Full genomic sequencing revealed the presence of NC/p1 cleavage site substitutions in the viral Gag polyprotein (K436E and/or I437T/V) in all three resistant viruses. These changes, when introduced in a reference strain, conferred PI resistance. The mechanism leading to PI resistance is enhancement of the processing efficiency of the altered substrate by wild-type protease. Analysis of genotypic and phenotypic resistance profiles of 28,000 clinical isolates demonstrated the presence of these NC/p1 cleavage site mutations in some clinical samples (codon 431 substitutions in 13%, codon 436 substitutions in 8%, and codon 437 substitutions in 10%). Moreover, these cleavage site substitutions were highly significantly associated with reduced susceptibility to PI in clinical isolates lacking primary protease mutations. Furthermore, we used data from a clinical trial (NARVAL, ANRS 088) to demonstrate that these NC/p1 cleavage site changes are associated with virological failure during PI therapy.
HIV can use an alternative mechanism to become resistant to PI by changing the substrate instead of the protease. Further studies are required to determine to what extent cleavage site mutations may explain virological failure during PI therapy.
Changes in the cleavage site of the Gag substrate for the HIV protease can convey resistance to protease inhibitors and might contribute to virologic failure during therapy that includes these drugs.
Editors' Summary
Twenty-five years ago, infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)—the causative agent of AIDS—was a death sentence. However, drugs that attack various stages of the HIV life cycle were soon developed that, although not curing the infection, kept it in check when used in combination and greatly increased the life expectancy of people infected with HIV. Unfortunately, viruses resistant to these drugs have rapidly emerged and antiviral therapy now fails in many patients. The use of HIV protease inhibitors (PIs) in combination therapies, for example, has led to the stepwise selection of viral variants resistant to these drugs. Resistance is first acquired when the viral protease changes so that PIs no longer bind to it and inhibit it efficiently. These changes often reduce the efficiency with which the protease binds its substrates—polyproteins called Gag and GagPol that it chops up into smaller proteins to make new viral particles. So the next step is the accumulation of changes elsewhere in the protease that make it work better, and sometimes changes in its substrate that make it easier to cut; these compensatory changes do not directly affect viral resistance to PIs.
Why Was This Study Done?
To prevent viruses with resistance to PIs emerging, drug doses are kept high in patients and new PIs are being developed with high potency against known PI-resistant HIV variants. Both approaches set a “high genetic barrier” to the development of PI resistance by ensuring that HIV has to incorporate many changes in its protease to become resistant. But, the HIV genome naturally changes—mutates—very rapidly, so novel HIV variants could emerge that are less susceptible to the new potent PIs without the virus having to leap this high genetic barrier. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether HIV can find an alternative route to PI resistance that does not involve the introduction of multiple changes into its protease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers took wild-type HIV and treated it in the laboratory with a new PI regimen that has a high genetic barrier. By gradually increasing its concentration, the researchers selected three viral populations that were able to grow in 4- to 8-fold higher concentrations of the PI than wild-type virus. None of these populations had mutations in the viral protease. Instead, they all had mutations near one of the sites—the NC/p1 site—where the protease normally cuts the Gag polyprotein. These mutations, the researchers report, enhanced the overall efficiency with which the wild-type protease cleaved the polyprotein, and a selection experiment with another PI showed that the development of PI resistance through alterations near the NC/p1 cleavage site was not unique to one PI. The researchers also investigated the potential clinical significance of this new drug resistance mechanism by looking for the same mutations in nearly 30,000 patient samples. Many of the samples did indeed have these mutations. Finally, they showed that mutations at the NC/p1 cleavage site were associated with virological failure (increased viral replication) during PI therapy in an ongoing clinical trial.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results suggest that increased polyprotein processing because of mutations in the natural substrate of the HIV protease might be a new mechanism by which HIV can become resistant to PIs. This strategy, which occurs in the laboratory and in patients, allows HIV to develop PI resistance without the need for multiple changes in its protease and so avoids the high genetic barrier to resistance that new PIs provide. Clinical studies are now needed to test which of the mutations seen in this study contribute to virological failure, whether the degree of this failure is clinically relevant, and whether these substrate mutations enhance the effect of protease mutations. If the clinical importance of the new mechanism is confirmed, genetic examination of both the polyprotein and the protease will be needed when trying to figure out why a PI-containing therapy is failing in individual patients. Furthermore, it will be necessary to test whether this mechanism can contribute to the development of resistance when evaluating new drugs.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases factsheet on HIV infection and AIDS
US Department of Health and Human Services information on AIDS
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention information on HIV/AIDS
Aidsmap information on HIV and AIDS provided by the charity NAM
BioAfrica, Bioinformatics for HIV Research, information on HIV-1 protease cleavage sites
PMCID: PMC1769415  PMID: 17227139
7.  Comparative Efficacy of Seven Psychotherapeutic Interventions for Patients with Depression: A Network Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001454.
Jürgen Barth and colleagues use network meta-analysis - a novel methodological approach - to reexamine the comparative efficacy of seven psychotherapeutic interventions for adults with depression.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Previous meta-analyses comparing the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for depression were clouded by a limited number of within-study treatment comparisons. This study used network meta-analysis, a novel methodological approach that integrates direct and indirect evidence from randomised controlled studies, to re-examine the comparative efficacy of seven psychotherapeutic interventions for adult depression.
Methods and Findings
We conducted systematic literature searches in PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase up to November 2012, and identified additional studies through earlier meta-analyses and the references of included studies. We identified 198 studies, including 15,118 adult patients with depression, and coded moderator variables. Each of the seven psychotherapeutic interventions was superior to a waitlist control condition with moderate to large effects (range d = −0.62 to d = −0.92). Relative effects of different psychotherapeutic interventions on depressive symptoms were absent to small (range d = 0.01 to d = −0.30). Interpersonal therapy was significantly more effective than supportive therapy (d = −0.30, 95% credibility interval [CrI] [−0.54 to −0.05]). Moderator analysis showed that patient characteristics had no influence on treatment effects, but identified aspects of study quality and sample size as effect modifiers. Smaller effects were found in studies of at least moderate (Δd = 0.29 [−0.01 to 0.58]; p = 0.063) and large size (Δd = 0.33 [0.08 to 0.61]; p = 0.012) and those that had adequate outcome assessment (Δd = 0.38 [−0.06 to 0.87]; p = 0.100). Stepwise restriction of analyses by sample size showed robust effects for cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy (all d>0.46) compared to waitlist. Empirical evidence from large studies was unavailable or limited for other psychotherapeutic interventions.
Overall our results are consistent with the notion that different psychotherapeutic interventions for depression have comparable benefits. However, the robustness of the evidence varies considerably between different psychotherapeutic treatments.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Depression is a very common condition. One in six people will experience depression at some time during their life. People who are depressed have recurrent feelings of sadness and hopelessness and might feel that life is no longer worth living. The condition can last for months and often includes physical symptoms such as headaches, sleeping problems, and weight gain or loss. Treatment of depression can include non-drug treatments (psychotherapy), antidepressant drugs, or a combination of the two. Especially for people with mild or intermediate depression, psychotherapy is often considered the preferred first option. Psychotherapy describes a range of different psychotherapies, and a number of established types of psychotherapies have all shown to work for at least some patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
While it is broadly accepted that psychotherapy can help people with depression, the question of which type of psychotherapy works best for most patients remains controversial. While many scientific studies have compared one psychotherapy with control conditions, there have been few studies that directly compared multiple treatments. Without such direct comparisons, it has been difficult to establish the respective merits of the different types of psychotherapy. Taking advantage of a recently developed method called “network meta-analysis,” the authors re-examine the evidence on seven different types of psychotherapy to see how well they have been shown to work and whether some work better than others.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers looked at seven different types of psychotherapy, which they defined as follows. “Interpersonal psychotherapy” is short and highly structured, using a manual to focus on interpersonal issues in depression. “Behavioral activation” raises the awareness of pleasant activities and seeks to increase positive interactions between the patient and his or her environment. “Cognitive behavioral therapy” focuses on a patient's current negative beliefs, evaluates how they affect current and future behavior, and attempts to restructure the beliefs and change the outlook. “Problem solving therapy” aims to define a patient's problems, propose multiple solutions for each problem, and then select, implement, and evaluate the best solution. “Psychodynamic therapy” focuses on past unresolved conflicts and relationships and the impact they have on a patient's current situation. In “social skills therapy,” patients are taught skills that help to build and maintain healthy relationships based on honesty and respect. “Supportive counseling” is a more general therapy that aims to get patients to talk about their experiences and emotions and to offer empathy without suggesting solutions or teaching new skills.
The researchers started with a systematic search of the medical literature for relevant studies. The search identified 198 articles that reported on such clinical trials. The trials included a total of 15,118 patients and compared one of the seven psychotherapies either with another one or with a common “control intervention”. In most cases, the control (no psychotherapy) was deferral of treatment by “wait-listing” patients or continuing “usual care.” With network meta-analysis they were able to summarize the results of all these trials in a meaningful way. They did this by integrating direct comparisons of several psychotherapies within the same trial (where those were available) with indirect comparisons across all trials (using no psychotherapy as a control intervention).
Based on the combined trial results, all seven psychotherapies tested were better than wait-listing or usual care, and the differences were moderate to large, meaning that the average person in the group that received therapy was better off than about half of the patients in the control group. When comparing the therapies with each other, the researchers saw small or no differences, meaning that none of them really stood out as much better or much worse than the others. They also found that the treatments worked equally well for different patient groups with depression (younger or older patients, or mothers who had depression after having given birth). Similarly, they saw no big differences when comparing individual with group therapy, or person-to-person with internet-based interactions between therapist and patient.
However, they did find that smaller and less rigorous studies generally found larger benefits of psychotherapies, and most of the studies included in the analysis were small. Only 36 of the studies had at least 50 patients who received the same treatment. When they restricted their analysis to those studies, the researchers still saw clear benefits of cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy, but not for the other four therapies.
What Do these Findings Mean?
Similar to earlier attempts to summarize and make sense of the many study results, this one finds benefits for all of the seven psychotherapies examined, and none of them stood as being much better than some or all others. The scientific support for being beneficial was stronger for some therapies, mostly because they had been tested more often and in larger studies.
Treatments with proven benefits still do not necessarily work for all patients, and which type of psychotherapy might work best for a particular patient likely depends on that individual. So overall this analysis suggests that patients with depression and their doctors should consider psychotherapies and explore which of the different types might be best suited for a particular patient.
The study also points to the need for further research. Whereas depression affects large numbers of people around the world, all of the trials identified were conducted in rich countries and Western societies. Trials in different settings are essential to inform treatment of patients worldwide. In addition, large high-quality studies should further explore the potential benefits of some of therapies for which less support currently exists. Where possible, future studies should compare psychotherapies with one another, because all of them have benefits, and it would not be ethical to withhold such beneficial treatment from patients.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Mental Health provides information on all aspects of depression (in English and Spanish); information on psychotherapy includes information on its most common forms
The UK National Health Service Choices website also provides detailed information about depression and includes personal stories about depression
The UK nonprofit Mind provides information on depression, including an explanation of the most common psychotherapies in the UK
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about depression (in English and Spanish)
The UK nonprofit has a unique database of personal and patient experiences on depression
PMCID: PMC3665892  PMID: 23723742
8.  Therapy of atopic eczema 
Major objective is the evaluation of the medical effectiveness of different therapeutical approaches and the cost effectiveness with relevance for Germany.
This health technology assessment (HTA) evaluates systemically randomized controlled studies (RCT) on the therapy of atopic dermatitis which were published between 1999 and 2004. Further it includes some important clinical studies which have been published after 2004 and other updates the English HTA report by Hoare et al. [1].
Topical corticosteroids and topical calcineurin-inhibitors are the principal substances which are currently used for anti-inflammatory therapy in atopic dermatitis. These substances have shown a significant therapeutic efficacy in controlled studies. In newer controlled studies no difference was observable when corticosteroids were applied once or more than once daily onto the skin. Moreover, there is now one controlled study available which points to the fact that an interval therapy with a stronger topical corticosteroid over a limited time (some weeks) may lower the risk of recurrent flares of atopic dermatitis. Both topical calcineurin-inhibitors pimecrolimus and tacrolimus have shown a significant therapeutical efficacy in a number of placebo-controlled prospective studies. The wealth of data is high for these substances. Both substances have been shown to be efficient in infants, children and adult patients with atopic dermatitis.
The importance of a so-called basic therapy with emollients which have to be adapted to the current status of skin is generally accepted in clinical practice. Controlled studies show the efficacy of ”basic therapy” - although the level of evidence is quite low for this approach. The skin of patients with atopic dermatitis is colonized in the majority with Staphylococcus aureus, a gram-positive bacterium. Therefore, a therapeutical approach for the treatment of atopic dermatitis is the anti-bacterial or anti-septic treatment of the skin. Due to the lack of randomized controlled studies there is still not certain proof that antimicrobial or anti-septic treatment of non-infected eczematous skin is efficient for the treatment of atopic dermatitis. A reduction of Staphylococcus aureus is observable during an anti-inflammatory treatment of the skin with topical corticosteroids and/or the topical calcineurin-inhibitor tacrolimus. Antihistaminic drugs which are orally applied in atopic dermatitis may support the therapy of the itching skin disease. One controlled study showed a rapid reduction of itch during the use of a non-sedating antihistaminic drug. There are, however, no controlled studies which show the efficacy of antihistaminic drugs on the skin condition in atopic dermatitis.
Dietetic restrictions should be applied only after a specific allergological diagnostic clarification. The “gold standard” is still a (blinded) oral provocation test which has to show an influence of a given food on the skin condition. There is sufficient evidence that there is no general dietetic approach which shows efficacy in atopic dermatitis. The treatment of patients with lactobacillae is still controversially discussed. Available studies which showed an efficacy show methodological weaknesses so that this approach can not be generally recommended for clinical practice at the time now. Approaches reducing house dust mite in the surroundings of patients with atopic dermatitis can have an effect on the skin condition so that at least in mite sensitized patients this approach appears to be reasonable. The specific immunotherapy with house dust mite showed clinical efficacy in a controlled study and in some open studies. The education of patients with atopic dermatitis or their parents is a further efficient approach in the management of this chronic skin disease. Interdisciplinary approaches in patients’ education containing also psychological elements appear to be an attractive new approach for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.
Phototherapy is a further possibility of intervention in atopic dermatitis in adolescent or adult patients. The available evidence points to the fact that UVB radiation (both small and broad spectrum), UVA-1 radiation and balneo-phototherapy are efficient therapeutical options for atopic dermatitis. The systemic treatment with the immunosuppressive substance cyclosporine A is efficient in the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis. Cyclosoprine A is approved for the treatment of adult patients with this skin disease. The immunosuppressive substance azathioprine showed a high clinical efficacy in two controlled studies for severe atopic dermatitis in adults. There are still controversial results for the application of antagonists to leucotriens in the treatment of atopic dermatitis: in some open studies a therapeutical efficacy was described which was, however, not reproducible in a newer controlled study. The phosphodiesterase-4-inhibitor cipamphyllin was efficient in the treatment of atopic dermatitis in a controlled study but weaker than a topical class II (i. e. moderate strength) corticosteroide. The HTA assessment further describes so-called complementary therapeutical approaches which have either not properly been studied in controlled clinical trials or which have been shown to be of no value for the treatment of atopic dermatitis.
Altogether six full health-economic evaluations were found which did not cover the whole therapy spectrum of atopic dermatitis. The choice of the most cost effective treatment option of topic corticosteroids depends less on application frequency, but rather on the drug price and more used or unused quantity of the standard packages, so even smallest improvements justify a more frequent application. The results from health economic evaluations of calcineurin-inhibitors are not reliable. The therapy of severe atopic dermatitis in adults with ciclosporin shows comparable cost effectiveness in comparison to UVA/UVB therapy.
The spectrum of therapeutical procedures has increased for atopic dermatitis but is still not sufficient. The spectrum of established substances is much smaller compared to psoriasis, another chronic and common inflammatory skin disease. There is need for the development new substances which can be applied topically and which are aimed to treat atopic dermatitis in early childhood. Another need for new developments can be found for the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis in adults.
The spectrum of therapeutical procedures has increased for atopic dermatitis but is still not sufficient. The spectrum of established substances is much smaller compared to psoriasis, another chronic and common inflammatory skin disease. There is need for the development new substances which can be applied topically and which are aimed to treat atopic dermatitis in early childhood. Another need for new developments can be found for the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis in adults.
Due to lack of health economic evaluations therapy decisions in the treatment of atopic dermatitis must take place on the basis of clinical decision criteria. The prescription of topic corticosteroids should prefer low priced drugs. Reliable statements about the cost effectiveness of the new calcineurin-inhibitors tacrolimus and pimecrolimus.
PMCID: PMC3011357  PMID: 21289970
9.  A Descriptive Study of the Practice Patterns of Massage New Zealand Massage Therapists 
Massage therapy has grown in popularity, yet little is known globally or in New Zealand about massage therapists and their practices.
Purpose and Setting:
The aims of this study were to describe the practice patterns of trained Massage New Zealand massage therapists in New Zealand private practice, with regard to therapist characteristics; practice modes and settings, and therapy characteristics; referral patterns; and massage therapy as an occupation.
Research Design and Participants:
A survey questionnaire was mailed to 66 trained massage therapist members of Massage New Zealand who were recruiting massage clients for a concurrent study of massage therapy culture.
Most massage therapists were women (83%), NZ European (76%), and holders of a massage diploma qualification (89%). Massage therapy was both a full- (58%) and part-time (42%) occupation, with the practice of massage therapy being the only source of employment for 70% of therapists. Nearly all therapists (94%) practiced massage for more than 40 weeks in the year, providing a median of 16 – 20 hours of direct client care per week. Most massage therapists worked in a “solo practice” (58%) and used a wide and active referral network. Almost all therapists treated musculoskeletal symptoms: the most common client issues or conditions treated were back pain/problem (99%), neck/shoulder pain/problem (99%), headache or migraine (99%), relaxation and stress reduction (96%), and regular recovery or maintenance massage (89%). The most frequent client fee per treatment was NZ$60 per hour in a clinic and NZ$1 per minute at a sports event or in the workplace. Therapeutic massage, relaxation massage, sports massage, and trigger-point therapy were the most common styles of massage therapy offered. Nearly all massage therapists (99%) undertook client assessment; 95% typically provided self-care recommendations; and 32% combined other complementary and alternative medicine therapies with their massage consultations.
This study provides new information about the practice of massage therapy by trained massage therapists. It will help to inform the massage industry and other health care providers, potential funders, and policymakers about the provision of massage therapy in the NZ health care system.
PMCID: PMC3088528  PMID: 21589692
Complementary and alternative therapies; massage therapy; New Zealand; integrative care; practice patterns
10.  Safety of regular formoterol or salmeterol in children with asthma: an overview of Cochrane reviews 
Two large surveillance studies in adults with asthma have found an increased risk of asthma-related mortality in those who took regular salmeterol as monotherapy in comparison to placebo or regular salbutamol. No similar sized surveillance studies have been carried out in children with asthma, and we remain uncertain about the comparative safety of regular combination therapy with either formoterol or salmeterol in children with asthma.
We have used the paediatric trial results from Cochrane systematic reviews to assess the safety of regular formoterol or salmeterol, either as monotherapy or as combination therapy, in children with asthma.
We included Cochrane reviews relating to the safety of regular formoterol and salmeterol from a search of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews conducted in May 2012, and ran updated searches for each of the reviews. These were independently assessed. All the reviews were assessed for quality using the AMSTAR tool. We extracted the data relating to children from each review and from new trials found in the updated searches (including risks of bias, study characteristics, serious adverse event outcomes, and control arm event rates).
The safety of regular formoterol and salmeterol were assessed directly from the paediatric trials in the Cochrane reviews of monotherapy and combination therapy with each product. Then monotherapy was indirectly compared to combination therapy by looking at the differences between the pooled trial results for monotherapy and the pooled results for combination therapy. The comparative safety of formoterol and salmeterol was assessed using direct evidence from trials that randomised children to each treatment; this was combined with the result of an indirect comparison of the combination therapy trials, which represents the difference between the pooled results of each product when randomised against inhaled corticosteroids alone.
Main results
We identified six high quality, up to date Cochrane reviews. Four of these related to the safety of regular formoterol or salmeterol (as monotherapy or combination therapy) and these included 19 studies in children. We added data from two recent studies on salmeterol combination therapy in 689 children which were published after the relevant Cochrane review had been completed, making a total of 21 trials on 7474 children (from four to 17 years of age). The two remaining reviews compared the safety of formoterol with salmeterol from trials randomising participants to one or other treatment, but the reviews only included a single trial in children in which there were 156 participants.
Only one child died across all the trials, so impact on mortality could not be assessed.
We found a statistically significant increase in the odds of suffering a non-fatal serious adverse event of any cause in children on formoterol monotherapy (Peto odds ratio (OR) 2.48; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.27 to 4.83, I2 = 0%, 5 trials, N = 1335, high quality) and smaller increases in odds which were not statistically significant for salmeterol monotherapy (Peto OR 1.30; 95% CI 0.82 to 2.05, I2 = 17%, 5 trials, N = 1333, moderate quality), formoterol combination therapy (Peto OR 1.60; 95% CI 0.80 to 3.28, I2 = 32%, 7 trials, N = 2788, moderate quality) and salmeterol combination therapy (Peto OR 1.20; 95% CI 0.37 to 2.91, I2 = 0%, 5 trials, N = 1862, moderate quality).
We compared the pooled results of the monotherapy and combination therapy trials. There was no significant difference between the pooled ORs of children with a serious adverse event (SAE) from long-acting beta2-agonist beta agonist (LABA) monotherapy (Peto OR 1.60; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.33, 10 trials, N = 2668) and combination trials (Peto OR 1.50; 95% CI 0.82 to 2.75, 12 trials, N = 4,650). However, there were fewer children with an SAE in the regular inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) control group (0.7%) than in the placebo control group (3.6%). As a result, there was an absolute increase of an additional 21 children (95% CI 4 to 45) suffering such an SAE of any cause for every 1000 children treated over six months with either regular formoterol or salmeterol monotherapy, whilst for combination therapy the increased risk was an additional three children (95% CI 1 fewer to 12 more) per 1000 over three months.
We only found a single trial in 156 children comparing the safety of regular salmeterol to regular formoterol monotherapy, and even with the additional evidence from indirect comparisons between the combination formoterol and salmeterol trials, the CI around the effect on SAEs is too wide to tell whether there is a difference in the comparative safety of formoterol and salmeterol (OR 1.26; 95% CI 0.37 to 4.32).
Authors’ conclusions
We do not know if regular combination therapy with formoterol or salmeterol in children alters the risk of dying from asthma.
Regular combination therapy is likely to be less risky than monotherapy in children with asthma, but we cannot say that combination therapy is risk free. There are probably an additional three children per 1000 who suffer a non-fatal serious adverse event on combination therapy in comparison to ICS over three months. This is currently our best estimate of the risk of using LABA combination therapy in children and has to be balanced against the symptomatic benefit obtained for each child. We await the results of large on-going surveillance studies to further clarify the risks of combination therapy in children and adolescents with asthma.
The relative safety of formoterol in comparison to salmeterol remains unclear, even when all currently available direct and indirect trial evidence is combined.
PMCID: PMC4022036  PMID: 23076961
Albuterol [administration & dosage; adverse effects; *analogs & derivatives]; Anti-Asthmatic Agents [administration & dosage; *adverse effects]; Asthma [drug therapy; mortality]; Drug Therapy, Combination [methods]; Ethanolamines [administration & dosage; *adverse effects]; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Review Literature as Topic; Child; Humans
11.  New Protease Inhibitors for the Treatment of Chronic Hepatitis C: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Author Names 
Annals of internal medicine  2012;156(4):279-290.
Chronic hepatitis C (HCV) is a difficult to treat disease affecting over 3 million Americans. Protease inhibitors increase the effectiveness of standard therapy but are costly. A genetic assay may identify patients most likely to benefit from this treatment advance.
Cost-effectiveness assessment of new protease inhibitors and an Interleukin-28B (IL- 28B) genotyping assay for treating chronic HCV
Decision-analytic Markov model
Data Sources
Published literature and expert opinion
Target Population
Treatment-naïve patients with chronic, genotype 1 HCV mono-infection
Time Horizon
Strategies are defined by the use of IL-28B genotyping and type of treatment (standard therapy: pegylated interferon with ribavirin; triple therapy: standard therapy and a protease inhibitor). IL-28B guided triple therapy stratifies CC genotype patients to standard therapy and non-CC types to triple therapy.
Outcome Measures
Discounted costs (2010 U.S. dollars) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs); incremental cost effectiveness ratios
Results of Base-Case Analysis
For patients with mild and advanced fibrosis, universal triple therapy reduces life-time risk of hepatocellular-carcinoma by 39% and 29% and increases quality-adjusted life expectancy by 3% and 8% compared to standard therapy. Gains from IL- 28B guided triple therapy are smaller. If the protease inhibitor costs $1,100 per week, universal triple therapy costs $102,600 per QALY (mild fibrosis) or $51,500 per QALY (advanced fibrosis) compared to IL-28B guided triple therapy and $70,100 per QALY and $36,300 per QALY compared to standard therapy.
Results of Sensitivity Analysis
Results are sensitive to the cost of protease inhibitors and treatment adherence rates.
Lack of long-term comparative effectiveness data on the new protease inhibitors
Both universal triple therapy and IL-28B guided triple therapy are cost-effective with the least expensive protease inhibitor for patients with advanced fibrosis.
Primary Funding Source
Stanford Graduate Fellowship
PMCID: PMC3586733  PMID: 22351713
12.  New-onset diabetes and antihypertensive treatment 
Chronic diseases substantially contribute to the continuous increase in health care expenditures, including type-2 diabetes mellitus as one of the most expensive chronic diseases.
Arterial hypertension presents a risk factor for the development of type-2 diabetes mellitus.
Numerous analyses have demonstrated that antihypertensive therapies promote the development of type-2-diabetes mellitus. Studies indicate, that the application of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin-receptor-blockers (ARB) lead to less new-onset diabetes compared to beta-blockers, diuretics and placebo. Given that beta-blockers and diuretics impair the glucose metabolism, the metabolic effects of different antihypertensive drugs should be regarded; otherwise not only the disease itself, but also antihypertensive therapies may promote the development of new-onset diabetes. Even though, the cost of ACE inhibitors and ARB are higher, the use in patients with metabolic disorders could be cost-effective in the long-term if new-onset diabetes is avoided.
To evaluate which class of antihypertensive agents promote the development or the manifestation of type-2 diabetes mellitus. How high is the incidence of new-onset diabetes during antihypertensive therapy and how is treatment-induced type-2 diabetes mellitus evaluated clinically? Which agents are therefore cost-effective in the long term? Which ethical, social or legal aspects should be regarded?
A systematic literature review was conducted including clinical trials with at least ten participants which reported new-onset diabetes in the course of antihypertensive treatment. The trials had to be published after 1966 (after 2003 for economic publications) in English or German.
A total of 34 clinical publications meet the inclusion criteria. Of these, eight publications focus on the development of diabetes mellitus under treatment with diuretic and/or beta-blockers, six publications focused on ACE inhibitors alone or in combination with calcium-channel-blockers, ten publications on ARB and/or ACE inhibitors with respect to their effects on new-onset diabetes or their preventive aspects. Furthermore, five publications investigate the role of calcium-channel-antagonists in the development of diabetes, and five publications indicate the development of new-onset diabetes with different antihypertensive agents amongst each other or in comparison to no antihypertensive treatment. The clinical trials show a significant difference in the development of new-onset diabetes. Therapies with diuretics and/or beta-blockers result in a higher incidence of new-onset diabetes. ARB as well as ACE inhibitors have a preventive effect and calcium-channel-blockers show a neutral position regarding the development of new-onset diabetes.
Two publications report on economic results. The first one evaluates the cost-effectiveness of ARB alone or in combination with calcium-channel-blockers in comparison to diuretics alone or in combination with beta-blockers. The second publication compares economic outcomes of calcium-channel-blockers and beta-blockers considering the development of new-onset diabetes. Treatment with the ARB candesartan lead to savings in total costs of 549 US-Dollar per patient and in incremental costs of 30,000 US-Dollar per diabetes mellitus avoided. In the second publication, costs to the amount of 18,965 Euro in Great Britain and 13,210 Euro in Sweden are quoted for an avoided event. The treatment with calcium-channel-blockers compared to beta-blockers is proven to be more cost-effective.
No publications were identified regarding ethical, social and legal aspects.
The available meta-analyses allow for a high clinical evidence level. A few studies vary in terms of diabetes definition and study duration. In most of the trials, the incidence of new-onset diabetes is not an endpoint. The evaluation of treatment-induced diabetes mellitus cannot be conducted, due to the lack of sufficient results in the identified literature. The two economic studies do not address all the objectives sufficiently. Ethical, social and legal aspects are discussed but not analysed systematically.
Based on these studies, sufficient evidence to confirm the presumption that diuretics and/or beta-blockers promote the development of new-onset diabetes compared to other antihypertensive agents, especially in patients who are predisposed, is presented with this report. Trials reflecting the clinical relevance of treatment-induced diabetes mellitus compared to existing diabetes mellitus regarding cardiovascular outcomes are required. Also health economic evaluations considering the development of new-onset diabetes should be conducted for the different classes of antihypertensive agents.
PMCID: PMC3010880  PMID: 21289876
diabetes mellitus, type 2; hypertension; Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; Angiotensin II type receptor blockers; calcium channel blockers; diuretics
13.  Adjunctive therapy patterns in glaucoma patients using prostaglandin analogs 
To analyze patterns of use of adjunctive therapies among new initiators of topical prostaglandin analogs (PGAs) in a managed care population.
The study cohort included patients in a claims database who initiated PGA therapy between June 2007 and April 2011. Patients who had one or more adjunctive therapy prescriptions during 24 months of follow-up were included. Patterns of adjunctive therapy use were identified and compared between patients who had one or two fills of the initial adjunctive therapy and those who had three or more.
There were 16,486 eligible beneficiaries. Of these, 5,933 (36%) had one or more adjunctive therapies within 24 months from the start of the PGA, 82% of whom started adjunctive therapy within 12 months. About 28% of patients started adjunctive therapy with a fixed-combination product; 45% of these patients started within the first 30 days. Overall, a large number of patients (42%) required adjunctive therapy within 30 days. Twenty-five percent of patients had only one or two prescriptions of their initial adjunctive therapy; of these patients, 74% discontinued adjunctive therapy altogether.
Approximately 30% of patients starting glaucoma therapy will require adjunctive therapy within 1 year, and many receive a fixed-combination product as initial adjunctive therapy shortly after starting glaucoma therapy. This suggests a prescribing trend toward earlier, more aggressive drug therapy to control pressure and minimize disease progression. We found that compliance with adjunctive therapy continues to be a problem for patients, which could be attributed to a number of treatment burden and economic factors.
PMCID: PMC4061175  PMID: 24959067
costs and cost analysis; drug therapy; combination; polypharmacy
14.  ART Suppresses Plasma HIV-1 RNA to a Stable Set Point Predicted by Pretherapy Viremia 
PLoS Pathogens  2007;3(4):e46.
Current antiretroviral therapy is effective in suppressing but not eliminating HIV-1 infection. Understanding the source of viral persistence is essential for developing strategies to eradicate HIV-1 infection. We therefore investigated the level of plasma HIV-1 RNA in patients with viremia suppressed to less than 50–75 copies/ml on standard protease inhibitor- or non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-containing antiretroviral therapy using a new, real-time PCR-based assay for HIV-1 RNA with a limit of detection of one copy of HIV-1 RNA. Single copy assay results revealed that >80% of patients on initial antiretroviral therapy for 60 wk had persistent viremia of one copy/ml or more with an overall median of 3.1 copies/ml. The level of viremia correlated with pretherapy plasma HIV-1 RNA but not with the specific treatment regimen. Longitudinal studies revealed no significant decline in the level of viremia between 60 and 110 wk of suppressive antiretroviral therapy. These data suggest that the persistent viremia on current antiretroviral therapy is derived, at least in part, from long-lived cells that are infected prior to initiation of therapy.
Author Summary
Combination antiretroviral therapy is effective in reducing, but not eliminating, HIV-1 replication. Residual viremia during suppressive antiretroviral therapy may arise from a number of sources, including reservoirs of long-lived virus-producing cells, or ongoing complete cycles of viral replication. Here, we used a new, more sensitive assay of HIV-1 RNA to measure residual viremia in a large cohort of patients with prolonged suppression on antiretroviral therapy. We found a persistent, stable level of viremia in patients on prolonged therapy that correlated with pretherapy levels of HIV-1. Over 80% of patients had viremia ≥1 copy/ml plasma, and the level of viremia was independent of the drug regimen patients were taking. These data strongly suggest that persistent viremia on antiretroviral therapy is likely derived from reservoirs of long-lived virus-producing cells that are not affected by currently available drugs that target new cycles of viral replication. New antiviral strategies that eradicate this reservoir will be necessary to cure HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC1847689  PMID: 17411338
15.  New Oral Anticoagulants in Acute Coronary Syndrome: Is There Any Advantage Over Existing Treatments? 
After an acute coronary syndrome, dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel plus aspirin is still a standard of care, but several new approaches have been investigated.
The present study re-examined the studies published thus far on this topic to evaluate the effectiveness of dual antiplatelet therapy in comparison to some of these new approaches (mainly, ticagrelor + aspirin and dual therapy plus a new oral anticoagulant [NOAC]; i.e., “triple therapy”).
Materials and Methods:
The clinical material was directly derived from that reported in recent meta-analyses. Our re-analysis relied on standard equivalence methods in which interpretation is based on Relative Risks (RRs) along with their 95% Confidence Intervals (CI). The equivalence margins employed in our statistical testing were directly derived from those reported in randomized studies.
The equivalence margins were initially set at RR ranging from 0.775 to 1.29. According to these margins, triple therapy based on any NOAC proved to be superior to dual therapy alone, but at the same time demonstrated its equivalence with dual therapy. The results for apixaban-based triple therapy were inconclusive (not superior, not not-inferior, not equivalent and, of course, not inferior to the controls). Those for rivaroxaban-based triple therapy showed that this combination treatment was superior to dual therapy alone and failed to meet the criterion of equivalence. In the comparison between rivaroxaban-based triple therapy and ticagrelor + aspirin, the RR was 1 and its 95% CI remained within a post-hoc margin of ± 15%.
Even if one considers the most effective NOAC in combination with clopidogrel + ticagrelor, this triple therapy is not more effective than ticagrelor + aspirin. On the other hand, the increased risk of bleeding with triple regimens is well demonstrated. We therefore conclude that these triple regimens did not play any important roles in the patients experiencing an acute coronary syndrome.
PMCID: PMC4109037  PMID: 25177676
Anticoagulants; Acute Coronary Syndrome; Rivaroxaban; Ticagrelor
16.  Future perspectives in melanoma research: meeting report from the “Melanoma Bridge”: Napoli, December 3rd–6th 2014 
The fourth “Melanoma Bridge Meeting” took place in Naples, December 3–6th, 2014. The four topics discussed at this meeting were: Molecular and Immunological Advances, Combination Therapies, News in Immunotherapy, and Tumor Microenvironment and Biomarkers. Until recently systemic therapy for metastatic melanoma patients was ineffective, but recent advances in tumor biology and immunology have led to the development of new targeted and immunotherapeutic agents that prolong progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). New therapies, such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway inhibitors as well as other signaling pathway inhibitors, are being tested in patients with metastatic melanoma either as monotherapy or in combination, and all have yielded promising results. These include inhibitors of receptor tyrosine kinases (BRAF, MEK, and VEGFR), the phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase (PI3K) pathway [PI3K, AKT, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)], activators of apoptotic pathway, and the cell cycle inhibitors (CDK4/6). Various locoregional interventions including radiotherapy and surgery are still valid approaches in treatment of advanced melanoma that can be integrated with novel therapies. Intrinsic, adaptive and acquired resistance occur with targeted therapy such as BRAF inhibitors, where most responses are short-lived. Given that the reactivation of the MAPK pathway through several distinct mechanisms is responsible for the majority of acquired resistance, it is logical to combine BRAF inhibitors with inhibitors of targets downstream in the MAPK pathway. For example, combination of BRAF/MEK inhibitors (e.g., dabrafenib/trametinib) have been demonstrated to improve survival compared to monotherapy. Application of novel technologies such sequencing have proven useful as a tool for identification of MAPK pathway-alternative resistance mechanism and designing other combinatorial therapies such as those between BRAF and AKT inhibitors. Improved survival rates have also been observed with immune-targeted therapy for patients with metastatic melanoma. Immune-modulating antibodies came to the forefront with anti-CTLA-4, programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) and PD-1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway blocking antibodies that result in durable responses in a subset of melanoma patients. Agents targeting other immune inhibitory (e.g., Tim-3) or immune stimulating (e.g., CD137) receptors and other approaches such as adoptive cell transfer demonstrate clinical benefit in patients with melanoma as well. These agents are being studied in combination with targeted therapies in attempt to produce longer-term responses than those more typically seen with targeted therapy. Other combinations with cytotoxic chemotherapy and inhibitors of angiogenesis are changing the evolving landscape of therapeutic options and are being evaluated to prevent or delay resistance and to further improve survival rates for this patient population. This meeting’s specific focus was on advances in combination of targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Both combination targeted therapy approaches and different immunotherapies were discussed. Similarly to the previous meetings, the importance of biomarkers for clinical application as markers for diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of treatment response was an integral part of the meeting. The overall emphasis on biomarkers supports novel concepts toward integrating biomarkers into contemporary clinical management of patients with melanoma across the entire spectrum of disease stage. Translation of the knowledge gained from the biology of tumor microenvironment across different tumors represents a bridge to impact on prognosis and response to therapy in melanoma.
PMCID: PMC4665874  PMID: 26619946
17.  Computational Models of HIV-1 Resistance to Gene Therapy Elucidate Therapy Design Principles 
PLoS Computational Biology  2010;6(8):e1000883.
Gene therapy is an emerging alternative to conventional anti-HIV-1 drugs, and can potentially control the virus while alleviating major limitations of current approaches. Yet, HIV-1's ability to rapidly acquire mutations and escape therapy presents a critical challenge to any novel treatment paradigm. Viral escape is thus a key consideration in the design of any gene-based technique. We develop a computational model of HIV's evolutionary dynamics in vivo in the presence of a genetic therapy to explore the impact of therapy parameters and strategies on the development of resistance. Our model is generic and captures the properties of a broad class of gene-based agents that inhibit early stages of the viral life cycle. We highlight the differences in viral resistance dynamics between gene and standard antiretroviral therapies, and identify key factors that impact long-term viral suppression. In particular, we underscore the importance of mutationally-induced viral fitness losses in cells that are not genetically modified, as these can severely constrain the replication of resistant virus. We also propose and investigate a novel treatment strategy that leverages upon gene therapy's unique capacity to deliver different genes to distinct cell populations, and we find that such a strategy can dramatically improve efficacy when used judiciously within a certain parametric regime. Finally, we revisit a previously-suggested idea of improving clinical outcomes by boosting the proliferation of the genetically-modified cells, but we find that such an approach has mixed effects on resistance dynamics. Our results provide insights into the short- and long-term effects of gene therapy and the role of its key properties in the evolution of resistance, which can serve as guidelines for the choice and optimization of effective therapeutic agents.
Author Summary
A primary obstacle to the success of any anti-HIV treatment is HIV's ability to rapidly resist it by generating new viral strains whose vulnerability to the treatment is reduced. Gene therapies represent a novel class of treatments for HIV infection that may supplement or replace present therapies, as they alleviate some of their major shortcomings. The design of gene therapeutic agents that effectively reduce viral resistance can be aided by a quantitative elucidation of the processes by which resistance is acquired following therapy initiation. We developed a computational model that describes a patient's response to therapy and used it to quantify the influence of therapy parameters and strategies on the development of viral resistance. We find that gene therapy induces different clinical conditions and a much slower viral response than present therapies. These dictate different design principles such as a greater significance to the virus' competence in the absence of therapy. We also show that one can effectively delay emergence of resistance by delivering distinct therapeutic genes into separate cell populations. Our results highlight the differences between traditional and gene therapies and provide a basic understanding of how key controllable parameters and strategies affect resistance development.
PMCID: PMC2920833  PMID: 20711350
18.  Innovations in chronic anal fissure treatment: A systematic review 
A chronic anal fissure is a common perianal condition. This review aims to evaluate both existing and new therapies in the treatment of chronic fissures. Pharmacological therapies such as glyceryl trinitrate (GTN), Diltiazem ointment and Botulinum toxin provide a relatively non-invasive option, but with higher recurrence rates. Lateral sphincterotomy remains the gold standard for treatment. Anal dilatation has no role in treatment. New therapies include perineal support devices, Gonyautoxin injection, fissurectomy, fissurotomy, sphincterolysis, and flap procedures. Further research is required comparing these new therapies with existing established therapies. This paper recommends initial pharmacological therapy with GTN or Diltiazem ointment with Botulinum toxin as a possible second line pharmacological therapy. Perineal support may offer a new dimension in improving healing rates. Lateral sphincterotomy should be offered if pharmacological therapy fails. New therapies are not suitable as first line treatments, though they can be considered if conventional treatment fails.
PMCID: PMC2999245  PMID: 21160880
Anal fissure; Innovative therapy; Glyceryl trinitrate; Lateral sphincterotomy; Diltiazem; Botulinum toxin; Perineal support device
19.  Achieving good glycemic control: initiation of new antihyperglycemic therapies in patients with type 2 diabetes from the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Diabetes Registry 
We sought to compare the effectiveness of antihyperglycemic therapies for lowering blood glucose in type 2 diabetic patients with poor glycemic control (HbA1c>8%).
Study Design
Longitudinal (cohort) study of 4,775 type 2 diabetic patients with baseline HbA1c>8% who initiated (1999-2000) new antihyperglycemic therapies and maintained them for up to one year. The study setting was Kaiser Permanente Northern California Medical Group, an integrated, prepaid health care delivery organization. Treatment regimens consisted of any one or a combination of the following prescribed classes of anti-hyperglycemic therapy: insulin, thiazolidinediones, sulfonylureas, biguanides (metformin) or “other” less frequently used options (including meglitinides or alpha-glucosidase inhibitors).
We assessed the proportion of patients who successfully achieved good glycemic control (HbA1c ≤7%) during the follow-up period 3-12 months after initiating and maintaining a new regimen, stratified by therapy and adjusted for pre-initiation HbA1c, prior therapy, and demographic, behavioral, clinical, quality of care and provider characteristics.
In this new user cohort with poorly-controlled diabetes, the mean HbA1c was 9.9% at the time of initiation of therapy. Within one year, there was a 1.3 point drop in the mean HbA1c (to 8.6%), and 18% of new initiators achieved HbA1c ≤7%. After adjusting for baseline clinical differences, the proportion of patients who were treated to glycemic target was greatest among those receiving thiazolidinediones in combination (24.6-25.7%) or a regimen of metformin and insulin (24.9%), while the least success was experienced by those receiving sulfonylureas alone (12.5%) or insulin-sulfonylureas regimens (10.9%). The probability of achieving target was most strongly predicted by level of glycemic control prior to initiation, but patient behaviors, such as frequent self-monitoring of blood glucose and lower rates of missed appointments were also strongly associated with greater levels of control.
Findings suggest the importance of combination therapies including insulin-sensitizing agents and self-management behaviors in helping poorly controlled patients achieve good glycemic control. Overall, therapy initiation resulted in an impressive population-level benefit. However, since most new initiators had still not achieved good control within 12 months, careful follow-up monitoring and prompt therapy intensification remain important.
PMCID: PMC3557945  PMID: 15839186
treatment effectiveness; treating to target; glycemic control; antihyperglycemic agents
20.  The TOPSHOCK study: Effectiveness of radial shockwave therapy compared to focused shockwave therapy for treating patellar tendinopath - design of a randomised controlled trial 
Patellar tendinopathy is a chronic overuse injury of the patellar tendon that is especially prevalent in people who are involved in jumping activities. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy is a relatively new treatment modality for tendinopathies. It seems to be a safe and promising part of the rehabilitation program for patellar tendinopathy. Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy originally used focused shockwaves. Several years ago a new kind of shockwave therapy was introduced: radial shockwave therapy. Studies that investigate the effectiveness of radial shockwave therapy as treatment for patellar tendinopathy are scarce. Therefore the aim of this study is to compare the effectiveness of focussed shockwave therapy and radial shockwave therapy as treatments for patellar tendinopathy.
The TOPSHOCK study (Tendinopathy Of Patella SHOCKwave) is a two-armed randomised controlled trial in which the effectiveness of focussed shockwave therapy and radial shockwave therapy are directly compared. Outcome assessors and patients are blinded as to which treatment is given. Patients undergo three sessions of either focused shockwave therapy or radial shockwave therapy at 1-week intervals, both in combination with eccentric decline squat training. Follow-up measurements are scheduled just before treatments 2 and 3, and 1, 4, 7 and 12 weeks after the final treatment. The main outcome measure is the Dutch VISA-P questionnaire, which asks for pain, function and sports participation in subjects with patellar tendinopathy. Secondary outcome measures are pain determined with a VAS during ADL, sports and decline squats, rating of subjective improvement and overall satisfaction with the treatment. Patients will also record their sports activities, pain during and after these activities, and concurrent medical treatment on a weekly basis in a web-based diary. Results will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle.
The TOPSHOCK study is the first randomised controlled trial that directly compares the effectiveness of focused shockwave therapy and radial shockwave therapy, both in combination with eccentric decline squat training, for treating patellar tendinopathy.
Trial registration
Trial registration number NTR2774.
PMCID: PMC3212818  PMID: 21989041
21.  Exercise therapy, manual therapy, or both, for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee: a factorial randomised controlled trial protocol 
Trials  2009;10:11.
Non-pharmacological, non-surgical interventions are recommended as the first line of treatment for osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and knee. There is evidence that exercise therapy is effective for reducing pain and improving function in patients with knee OA, some evidence that exercise therapy is effective for hip OA, and early indications that manual therapy may be efficacious for hip and knee OA. There is little evidence as to which approach is more effective, if benefits endure, or if providing these therapies is cost-effective for the management of this disorder. The MOA Trial (Management of OsteoArthritis) aims to test the effectiveness of two physiotherapy interventions for improving disability and pain in adults with hip or knee OA in New Zealand. Specifically, our primary objectives are to investigate whether:
1. Exercise therapy versus no exercise therapy improves disability at 12 months;
2. Manual physiotherapy versus no manual therapy improves disability at 12 months;
3. Providing physiotherapy programmes in addition to usual care is more cost-effective than usual care alone in the management of osteoarthritis at 24 months.
This is a 2 × 2 factorial randomised controlled trial. We plan to recruit 224 participants with hip or knee OA. Eligible participants will be randomly allocated to receive either: (a) a supervised multi-modal exercise therapy programme; (b) an individualised manual therapy programme; (c) both exercise therapy and manual therapy; or, (d) no trial physiotherapy. All participants will continue to receive usual medical care. The outcome assessors, orthopaedic surgeons, general medical practitioners, and statistician will be blind to group allocation until the statistical analysis is completed. The trial is funded by Health Research Council of New Zealand Project Grants (Project numbers 07/199, 07/200).
The MOA Trial will be the first to investigate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of providing physiotherapy programmes of this kind, for the management of pain and disability in adults with hip or knee OA.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ref: ACTRN12608000130369.
PMCID: PMC2644684  PMID: 19200399
22.  Summit on cell therapy for cancer: The importance of the interaction of multiple disciplines to advance clinical therapy 
The field of cellular therapy of cancer is moving quickly and the issues involved with its advancement are complex and wide ranging. The growing clinical applications and success of adoptive cellular therapy of cancer has been due to the rapid evolution of immunology, cancer biology, gene therapy and stem cell biology and the translation of advances in these fields from the research laboratory to the clinic. The continued development of this field is dependent on the exchange of ideas across these diverse disciplines, the testing of new ideas in the research laboratory and in animal models, the development of new cellular therapies and GMP methods to produce these therapies, and the testing of new adoptive cell therapies in clinical trials. The Summit on Cell Therapy for Cancer to held on November 1 and 2, 2011 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus will include a mix of perspectives, concepts and ideas related to adoptive cellular therapy that are not normally presented together at any single meeting. This novel assembly will generate new ideas and new collaborations and possibly increase the rate of advancement of this field.
PMCID: PMC3160382  PMID: 21740581
23.  Control of the proinflammatory state in cystic fibrosis lung epithelial cells by genes from the TNF-alphaR/NFkappaB pathway. 
Molecular Medicine  2001;7(8):523-534.
BACKGROUND: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common, lethal autosomal recessive disease affecting children in the United States and Europe. Extensive work is being performed to develop both gene and drug therapies. The principal mutation causing CF is in the CFTR gene ([Delta F508]CFTR). This mutation causes the mutant protein to traffic poorly to the plasma membrane, and degrades CFTR chloride channel activity. CPX, a candidate drug for CF, binds to mutant CFTR and corrects the trafficking deficit. CPX also activates mutant CFTR chloride channel activity. CF airways are phenotypically inundated by inflammatory signals, primarily contributed by sustained secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin 8 (IL-8) from mutant CFTR airway epithelial cells. IL-8 production is controlled by genes from the TNF-alphaR/NFkappaB pathway, and it is possible that the CF phenotype is due to dysfunction of genes from this pathway. In addition, because drug therapy with CPX and gene therapy with CFTR have the same common endpoint of raising the levels of CFTR, we have hypothesized that either approach should have a common genomic endpoint. MATERIALS AND METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we studied IL-8 secretion and global gene expression in IB-3 CF lung epithelial cells. The cells were treated by either gene therapy with wild-type CFTR, or by pharmacotherapy with the CFTR-surrogate drug CPX. CF cells, treated with either CFTR or CPX, were also exposed to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common chronic pathogen in CF patients. cDNA microarrays were used to assess global gene expression under the different conditions. A novel bioinformatic algorithm (GENESAVER) was developed to identify genes whose expression paralleled secretion of IL-8. RESULTS: We report here that IB3 CF cells secrete massive levels of IL-8. However, both gene therapy with CFTR and drug therapy with CPX substantially suppress IL-8 secretion. Nonetheless, both gene and drug therapy allow the CF cells to respond with physiologic secretion of IL-8 when the cells are exposed to P. aeruginosa. Thus, neither CFTR nor CPX acts as a nonspecific suppressor of IL-8 secretion from CF cells. Consistently, pharmacogenomic analysis indicates that CF cells treated with CPX greatly resemble CF cells treated with CFTR by gene therapy. Additionally, the same result obtains in the presence of P. aeruginosa. Classical hierarchical cluster analysis, based on similarity of global gene expression, also supports this conclusion. The GENESAVER algorithm, using the IL-8 secretion level as a physiologic variable, identifies a subset of genes from the TNF-alphaR/NFkappaB pathway that is expressed in phase with IL-8 secretion from CF epithelial cells. Certain other genes, previously known to be positively associated with CF, also fall into this category. Identified genes known to code for known inhibitors are expressed inversely, out of phase with IL-8 secretion. CONCLUSIONS: Wild-type CFTR and CPX both suppress proinflammatory IL-8 secretion from CF epithelial cells. The mechanism, as defined by pharmacogenomic analysis, involves identified genes from the TNF-alphaR/NFkappaB pathway. The close relationship between IL-8 secretion and genes from the TNF-alphaR/NFkappaB pathway suggests that molecular or pharmaceutical targeting of these novel genes may have strategic use in the development of new therapies for CF. From the perspective of global gene expression, both gene and drug therapy have similar genomic consequences. This is the first example showing equivalence of gene and drug therapy in CF, and suggests that a gene therapy-defined endpoint may prove to be a powerful paradigm for CF drug discovery. Finally, because the GENESAVER algorithm is capable of isolating disease-relevant genes in a hypothesis-driven manner without recourse to any a priori knowledge about the system, this new algorithm may also prove useful in applications to other genetic diseases.
PMCID: PMC1950060  PMID: 11591888
24.  Bisphosphonate prescribing, persistence and cumulative exposure in Ontario, Canada 
Osteoporosis International  2011;23(3):1075-1082.
We studied new users of oral bisphosphonates and found that less than half persisted with therapy for 2 years, and interruptions in use were common. During a median observation period of 4.7 years, 10% of patients filled only a single prescription, 37% switched therapies and median cumulative exposure was 2.2 years.
We sought to describe bisphosphonate prescribing, persistence and cumulative exposure among seniors in Ontario, Canada.
We used Ontario Drug Benefit pharmacy claims to identify residents aged ≥ 66 years who initiated oral bisphosphonate therapy between April 1996 and March 2009. The first date of bisphosphonate dispensing was considered the index date. Persistence with therapy was defined as continuous treatment with no interruption exceeding 60 days. We examined persistence with therapy and the number of extended gaps (>60 days) between prescriptions over time periods ranging from 1 to 9 years. We also identified the proportion of patients filling only a single prescription and switching to a different bisphosphonate, and calculated the median days of exposure irrespective of gaps in therapy.
A total of 451,113 eligible new bisphosphonate users were identified: mean age = 75.6 years (SD = 6.9), 84% female, and median follow-up length = 4.7 years. Persistence with therapy declined from 63% at 1 year to 46% at 2 years and 12% at 9 years. Among those with at least 5 years of follow-up (n = 213,029), 61% had one or more extended gaps in bisphosphonate therapy. Overall, 10% of patients filled only a single prescription, 37% switched to a different bisphosphonate and the median exposure was 2.2 years.
Less than half of patients persisted with bisphosphonate therapy for 2 years and interruptions in therapy were common, with most patients experiencing two or more >60-day gaps in therapy. Interventions are needed to improve persistence with bisphosphonate therapy and reduce the frequency of gaps in treatment.
PMCID: PMC3277689  PMID: 21604008
Alendronate; Etidronate; Medication persistence; Osteoporosis; Risedronate
25.  Effectiveness and adverse effects of hormonal therapy for prostate cancer: Japanese experience and perspective 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2012;14(3):451-457.
Recently, novel anti-androgens and inhibitors of androgen biosynthesis have been developed through the elucidation of mechanisms of castration resistance of prostate cancer. We believe that these new developments will improve hormonal therapy. On the other hand, there has been an increase in criticism of hormonal therapy, because hormonal therapy is supposed to induce adverse effects such as cardiovascular disease. In this review, we have introduced the Japanese experience of hormonal therapy, because we believe that there may be ethnic differences between Caucasians and Asian people in the efficacy and adverse effects of hormonal therapy. First, we showed that primary hormonal therapy can achieve long-term control of localized prostate cancer in some cases and that quality of life of patients receiving hormonal therapy is rather better than previously thought. Neoadjuvant and adjuvant hormonal therapy in cases undergoing radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy are very useful for high-risk or locally advanced prostate cancer. Further clinical trials are required to confirm the efficacy of neoadjuvant or adjuvant hormonal therapy. We showed that the death from cardiovascular diseases in Japanese patients receiving hormonal therapy was not higher than that in the general population. However, efforts should be made to decrease the adverse effects of hormonal therapy, because life-style change may increase the susceptibility to adverse effects by hormonal therapy even in Japan. Managements of endocrine and metabolic dysfunction, such as diabetes mellitus, are essential. New hormonal compounds such as selective androgen receptor modulators capable of specifically targeting prostate cancer are expected to be developed.
PMCID: PMC3722884  PMID: 22447200
adverse effects; androgen deprivation therapy; hormonal therapy; prostate cancer

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